How Valve is combating bots and scalpers for the Steam Deck

Back off, scalpers.

steam deck battery life
Image via Valve

Valve is attempting to ward off scalpers of its new Steam Deck with a registration system. 

Scalpers became the bane of every gamer’s existence in 2020 when trying to secure a PS5 or Xbox Series X. The problems extended into PC graphics cards with scalpers hoarding 30 series Nvidia GPUs. 

Tens of thousands of consoles and graphics cards were bought up and resold at inflated prices, sometimes two to three times the original price. The ongoing semiconductor shortage makes matters worse, allowing the scalpers to charge even more exorbitant prices to desperate consumers.

To combat this problem for its upcoming Steam Deck, Valve has come up with a registration system to limit the effect of scalpers and bots. The first part of the system is the $5 preorder fee. Reservations are in place to gauge the proper amount of intent to purchase the console, according to the official Steam Deck FAQ. That information is necessary to strike the right balance of Steam Decks needed to meet demand throughout various regions.

Secondly, only one person at a time can purchase a Steam Deck. Lastly, anyone looking to purchase the Steam Deck must have bought at least one game with a Steam account setup before June 2021. Valve also limited the sale of consoles for 48-hours to verified Steam account holders during the initial rollout of preorders on July 16.

While the 48-hour period is over, the reservation fee and the single console limit are still in effect. Although the process isn’t airtight to prevent scalpers, it is a step in the right direction. Other companies should look at Valve’s example and consider implementing a similar system when launching new hardware in the future.